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Old 12-22-2014, 11:59 AM   #21
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I once told my brother I was doing a 4 week survey. I was logging every bite of food I took during the day. I figured if I could skip every 5th one I wouldn't miss the food and over a year I would save $XX.00 per year in groceries.

In reality I was just doing a parody of myself and my world-renown stinginess but he found it quite believable. Just like me to try something like that to save some grocery money
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Old 12-22-2014, 11:59 AM   #22
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I saved a lot of empty, reusable plastic containers over the years. Those include cake frosting containers, really good for storing small amounts of food or drink, Cool Whip containers, and plastic/glass peanut butter jars. I haven't eaten PB for over 20 years but still have the jars I use all the time.


I have reused those zip-lock plastic bags, even inverting them so I could wash them out. Sometimes I use them for food items, sometimes for other things. I have several small ones and larger ones. Very handy.


For printing stuff I don't plan to mail out anywhere, I print on the back (blank) side of paper I have already used. When I left my company in 2008, I took home about 1,000 sheets of this scrap paper I had accumulated over the years (and still left behind much more). It was only last year I finished going through all of it. I had also printed out in 1993, by mistake, a large output from a program I ran. I took it home and used the back of the continuous-feed paper to score the many Scrabble games I played against my friend. It lasted me 20 years and I still have some smaller printouts whose back, blank side I use for my Scrabble games. Should last me another year or two.
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:06 PM   #23
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At McDonald's, I'll order the McDouble off the dollar/value menu (though it's closer to $1.19 or $1.39 these days). Then ask for extra big mac sauce. Sometimes they charge $0.10 to $0.30 for the sauce.

Instant low(er) carb big mac for a third of the price of the real big mac. I call it the ghetto big mac.

The only time I got embarrassed ordering it was when a homeless guy walked into the restaurant in front of me and ordered the exact same thing. DW's face turned red and she had to walk away from the counter when I ordered my ghetto big macs.
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:07 PM   #24
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I have reused those zip-lock plastic bags, even inverting them so I could wash them out.
After I wash them, I have found that I can stand them up on the counter to dry, right side out, upside down, and wide open. I line them up like little soldiers.

Since they cost me nothing when re-used, I use them to freeze nearly everything in portions. That helps me to not over-eat, and also it is useful for a single person to freeze in portions so that food doesn't get spoiled.

They last a long time.
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:16 PM   #25
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I used to bring my lunch to work. Home made sandwich, a Coke, and something sweet.
If the two liter Coke was on sale at the supermarket, I would fill 20 ounce bottles and bring them to work.

They used to make fun of how frugal I was, now I can laugh at them, stuck in their slave chambers without hope of escape until their 60s at least. They needed the new car every three years, the latest gadgets, and buying breakfast and lunch every day.

He who laughs last, laughs best.
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:28 PM   #26
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We keep rice and macaroni in a couple glass Tang containers that are at least 40 years old.

I still have 35mm film containers (plastic cylinders) in the basement just in case I find some use for them someday.
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Old 12-22-2014, 12:44 PM   #27
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We keep rice and macaroni in a couple glass Tang containers that are at least 40 years old.

I still have 35mm film containers (plastic cylinders) in the basement just in case I find some use for them someday.
These are just the right size for any stash of quarters you might keep in the glove compartment, for parking meters or vending machines or toll roads. I'll bet they would work for earbuds, too (although we have always used the metal Altoids boxes instead).
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:02 PM   #28
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I still have (and use for beverages) those plain glass jars Welch's grape jelly had been sold in during the '60s. These days non-wasteful frugality goes by different name: "green".
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:03 PM   #29
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I only have one really wealthy friend. He is steeped in frugality, and has a story that he tells about his mom, who recently passed away at age 96. Despite her wealth, and I remember this from college years... she washed Saran Wrap, and hung it out on a clothesline.

How silly... we use a steamer to flatten it, and dry it on a towel.
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:06 PM   #30
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My parents were born in the early-mid 1920's and like many folk from that era, were particularly frugal by modern standards. On top of that, my father was quite pre-occupied with neatness. Nowadays, he would probably be referred to as OCD, or something similar. Like many other frugal people, very little was thrown away and all manner of items were re-purposed. In the case of my father, his obsession with neatness, and his desire to maximize efficiency and always use space in the best way possible, led him to take a great deal of care when packing trash into the garbage can (or rubbish bin as I think we used to call them in England). Trash of different types (food or non-food, and also sorted according to size and shape) would first be packed, as it was being generated, in old milk cartons, tin cans, bags etc. Then, just before trash collection day, he would carefully pack them into the plastic bag that fitted into the rubbish bin. IIRC, larger, flatter items were packed at the bottom to evenly distribute the weight of the trash along the bottom of the bad and prevent it from bursting, then everything else was packed in, according to his fairly stringent pre-determined rules. I won't even attempt to guess what some of them were!

This isn't so much a story about frugality, as it is about OCD-type behavior. It somehow fits in with my parent's frugality though, as this extreme attention to detail and neatness by my father led both my parents to achieve all kinds of savings throughout their lives. One of these days I should write a small book!
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:11 PM   #31
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All those little frugal habits add up. 25 frugal habits each saving 15 cents a day is $14,600 in ten years, not including interest. That is like getting a decent used car for free every ten years.
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:16 PM   #32
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Yep. I think that was my parent's thinking too. If you're naturally pre-occupied with small details, then extreme frugality is not a hardship at all.
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Old 12-22-2014, 01:23 PM   #33
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I just cannot believe how many of the big spenders here are buying lunches at McDonald's! Bringing your own lunch is frugal. There is not a shade of doubt that this Igloo cooler has saved me well into five figures over the years. Not a bad ROI for a $12 cooler.

When my sisters and I were cleaning out Mom's house prior to her moving we were amazed at how many plastic butter dishes and plastic bags were stuffed under the kitchen sink. It seemed like thousands but it was probably only hundreds. We had to be sneaky about throwing them out and made sure some made the move to her apartment.

I think it was REWahoo who pointed out that the day may come when we regret doing that when the grocery stores are awash in butter but have no plastic dishes to put it in.
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:04 PM   #34
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Yep. I think that was my parent's thinking too. If you're naturally pre-occupied with small details, then extreme frugality is not a hardship at all.
One of my friends laughed at me when I made something that generated $4 a day in royalty type income after a few afternoons of work. She started sending me job leads for internships and minimum wage jobs because she thought we must be broke because I was so excited over $4. I tried to explain about passive income but she never quite got it, so I ended up just thanking her for the leads.

My little venture has made $12K to date through the years for a few afternoons of work. Not a big killing moneywise in any given year but the nickles add up over time, and per hour of work I made around $1K per hour.
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:21 PM   #35
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I've got a work colleague who cooks up some large pasta dish full of everything on a sunday at home and he brings portions of it to work for the first 2/3 days of the week and microwaves it at lunchtime. I just waste money on fancy sandwiches everyday.
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:44 PM   #36
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My wife likes to eat out for breakfast.

She orders her breakfast and I eat her hashbrowns. A side of toast is almost $2 and I buy a whole loaf for $1 at the $.99 store. So I make 2 hashbrown sandwiches with the toast I smuggle in.
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:51 PM   #37
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How can you claim to be frugal if you buy butter in a tub and cool whip ? What, real butter and cream are not good enough for y'all?
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Old 12-22-2014, 02:55 PM   #38
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I have recently started to bring my own beer into a pub, I'll buy the first beer but then start filling the glass from my own supply which I have smuggled in when I'm out of range of CCTV. This isn't simply to save money but partly because I like good quality beer and some of the pubs that I go to serve crap beer.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:30 PM   #39
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One of my best investments when I was working.
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Old 12-22-2014, 03:44 PM   #40
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marko, that's a tough story to beat
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